Monthly Archives: February 2009

Hard drives hate me

After fixing up my laptop yesterday, installing the spare HDD and reloading everything I suddenly find that my spare HDD is faulty. :-(

At first the laptop would just randomly lock up or pause for periods of time, but today it failed badly. With luck, I was able to get the documents for the last 12 hours I had been working on to a USB stick.

I know that it’s the HDD rather than the laptop, since this spare HDD had caused similar problems on the spare laptop, but I think I triggered the real nasty stuff when I loaded about 40 GB of my data onto it giving it a big work out.

I’m back up and running using my spare Libretto U100 laptop, but have had to place an order for a new 1.8″ HDD to put back in my primary unit. (about $580 NZD – ouch!)

I’ll end up with my production laptop working with a new HDD (hopefully another 3 years life!), a working spare laptop to lend to my brother and an additional spare mainboard, RAM & chassis from the scrapped Libretto.

What a hassle! Good thing my backups are frequent and working. :-)

RIP beloved hard drive

I had a whole pile of “fun” today when my Libretto U100’s HDD suddenly died at 1pm right in the middle of preparations to release my company’s new open-source billing system product on the 16th of February.

Fortunately as I had done a backup just last night, I only lost about 3 hours work, but it was still quite an annoyance as it took about 10 hours to replace the hard drive, pull all the data off the backup server and restore the operating system.

Most of the complexity comes from the very small size of the laptop and the fact that the only way to remove the HDD is to remove almost all parts of the motherboard & expansion cards inside.

Fortunately I had spare components from another Libretto that I had scrapped for parts – without that the problem would have been much more serious, since it only takes 1.8″ IDE HDDs which aren’t that easy to get and can be rather expensive (one Toshiba parts supplier quotes about $500 for a replacement 60GB drive).

The I/O performance on the laptop had been getting pretty bad over the past month and I was starting to suspect drive problems so the failure wasn’t a huge shock, it just came at a really annoying time.

I’ve had 3 years of almost 24×7 use out of the laptop, including carrying it all over the place on almost a daily basis, so I’m pretty pleased with it’s life span overall.

I think my next purchase will be one of the new 64GB IDE 1.8″ SSD drives to get a much faster, reliable laptop – considering that whenever I notice slowness on my Libretto it’s due to disk I/O, a SSD should be a worthy investment to extending it’s usable life.